What is a Portable Power Station and Is it Better Than a Petrol Generator?

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max Portable Power Station Face View.

A portable power station, also known as battery generators or solar generators, are devices that store electrical energy that can be used when away from a normal source of electricity.

These are the latest technological rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which are packaged into a robust case with control and charging systems. They are recharged when power is available and then put to work when they are needed.

There are many uses for a portable power station but a few of the popular ones are:

  • Camping Trips to recharge phones, tablets and laptops or power a fridge.
  • Remote working when power is needed for tools or lighting.
  • Emergency power back-up when essential items are needed – lighting, fish tank pumps or medical devices.
  • Drone pilots when recharging spare batteries is essential.
  • Photographers who need to recharge camera equipment.
  • Emergency Services attending incidents.
  • Service van and vehicle fleet operators that need power when on the road.

What Can a Portable Power Station Run?

Portable power stations run any electrical device. For example, the EcoFlow RIVER has a rating of 600W at 230V so can run anything that uses less than 600W.

Other units have higher ratings such as the EcoFlow DELTA which has an output rating of 1800W – this is sufficient for most applications, but it is worth checking your devices to see what power they use.

In addition to knowing what power output is needed it is also important to know how long the unit will provide this power. For example, the EcoFlow RIVER PRO has a battery capacity of 720Wh – this means it will provide its maximum 600W for just over an hour. If you are using a lower rating, say 300W, then it will give over 2 hours.

The rating and battery capacity can be thought of like a motorbike – how powerful and fast it is (rating) and how long it will run for on the petrol tank size (battery capacity).

Portable power stations also have other sockets for various uses – there are USB-A and USB-C ports for phone and tablet charging and a car 12VDC socket. On the EcoFlow units, these can all be used at the same time.

How Are Portable Power Stations Charged?

A Portable Power Station can be charged by a standard wall outlet socket, from a 12VDC car adapter or by a solar panel.

The quickest way is by 230V AC wall socket, but solar panels are an excellent choice even in the UK with their lack of sunshine. Modern solar panels have better efficiency and can give surprising results and sometimes prevent having to recharge by the mains at all.

If you are mobile or on a road trip, then charging whilst travelling is the obvious way to go – charge up your portable power station whilst driving using the 12VDC car adapter and use it once at your destination.

How Long Does It Take to Charge Portable Power Stations?

Due to various designs and technology, different brands of portable power stations take different times to charge. For example, the Jackery 500 will take nearly 8 hours to recharge from a standard wall socket – the Hyundai can take longer still.

The EcoFlow X-Stream technology gives them the advantage with recharging from 0% to 80% in one hour and 0% to 100% in 1.6 hours – the fastest on the market today.

Charging time can make a huge difference in the ownership of a portable power station. If you run out of power when on the road then a quick stop at a café can potentially recharge an EcoFlow (with their permission of course!) but this would not be possible with others.

Are Portable Power Stations Better Than a Petrol Generator?

Petrol generators and portable power stations both have pros and cons.

Petrol Generator

Can run for long period with quick refuellingNoisy
Higher electrical outputSmelly
Easy repairs and servicingBad for the environment with emissions
Relatively inexpensiveNeeds regular servicing
Only for use outdoors
Expensive fuel and oil


EcoFlow Portable Power Station

Nearly SilentRun time can be limited
Zero emissionsRecharge time
No regular servicing is required.Battery life if not used correctly
Safely use indoorsMore expensive
Can be recharged with solar for free
Can be used as a backup unit for power cuts


Petrol (and diesel) generators still have a place for many applications, but portable power stations are now becoming more and more popular and are a better choice for leisure use.

The best quality portable power stations are available today fully supported by Hampshire Generators.

Find Your Portable Power Station

Discover our range of high-quality portable power stations, supported by us at Hampshire Generators.

If you have any further questions about our range of generators, then get in touch and our experts will always be happy to help in assisting you with specifying your new portable power station.

Call us on 01329 277162 or email [email protected]







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